Dancing with Sharks

22 12 2008

After watching the Discovery Channel’s Shark Week programs, the memories of scuba diving in Thailand came flooding back.

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On the initial descent on my first dive  at Phi Phi Island in Thailand I arrived on the sandy bottom near to a Leopard Shark  – supposedly harmless but a shark non the less, “harmless” means that the species has not torn a chunk off anybody’s leg – yet.  My dive buddy was my long time friend from the UK who was working as an Instructor for a local Dive Shop so the stress of the encounter was reduced a little.

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“If in doubt, do as I do” was one of the many pearls of wisdom given during the dive brief, so I did as he did and calmly swam to one side of the shark to avoid passing over the top of it (which may make it feel threatened and provoke an attack) We saw several Leopard Sharks;  the one that I managed to photograph coming towards me actually gave me a bump on the shin and swam between my legs.  A shark will bump into you as a means of investigation, shins are all bone, if it had bumped into my belly I am sure it would have whistled for it’s mates for a feeding frenzy.

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We had a great weeks diving, managing to photograph Sea Turtles, Manta Rays and Moray Eels to name a few.  More details and photographs are on my Website – www.john-tom.com on the diving pages.

The conditions for diving are generally good at Phi Phi Island, some days have over 30m of visiblity under water, beaten only by the Similan Islands in my opinion.  The amount of life in and around the coral is amazing and must be experienced to do it justice.  Floating weightless in the amongst  of a shoal of swirling fish is the nearest you will get to flying with the birds -if Dancing with Sharks is not your thing.

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More details and Underwater Photographs at www.john-tom.com on the Diving in Thailand page

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